Multiple-step disinfecting adds extra doses of safety at Norton Healthcare

In addition to disinfectant cleaning products, Norton Healthcare facilities use UV-C light to sanitize hospital rooms.

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In addition to cleaning with traditional disinfectant solutions, the environmental services crews at Norton Healthcare facilities use UV-C light to sanitize hospital rooms. After a traditional sanitizing, the UV-C light disinfection adds a final layer of safety to isolation rooms and other rooms where the risk of infection is higher. Operating rooms and other treatment areas also get the extra disinfection.

The ultraviolet light bathes patient rooms and other areas with strong doses of bacteria- and virus-killing energy. The light could burn skin and damage eyes, so is used in rooms only after staff and patients have left the area and thes door is closed.

Investment in technology and attention to detail are some of the reasons The Leapfrog Group, which rates adult hospitals on patient safety, has given all four Norton Healthcare adult hospitals “A” ratings in the past two years.

“I would feel comfortable having a member of my family as a patient at Norton Healthcare due in large part to the increased awareness of cleanliness practices,” said Justin Thornsberry, R.N., director of quality and clinical effectiveness for Norton Audubon Hospital. “We use all available technology to keep the environment safer for patients and employees.”

Part of Justin’s job is to evaluate those processes daily and adjust if needed to make sure patients are protected.

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Disinfection starts at the front door

Keeping the hospitals clean starts at the front door. In addition to a screening for fever and general wellness, masks and hand sanitizer foam are available for everyone who enters. To maintain proper social distancing in waiting areas, chairs have been spaced apart to provide a safer distance.

Norton Healthcare has started using shoe sanitizers at entryways because soles carry pathogens that could spread throughout the hospital. These sanitizers deliver a dose of ozone and higher-frequency ultraviolet light to kill 99.99% of infection-causing germs in seconds.

There’s no substitute for a good cleaning with disinfectants

While technology has added layers of safety, all patient rooms get a thorough cleaning with disinfectants. High-touch surfaces get special attention, and walls, chair backs, shelves and closet doors get a good cleaning as well.

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UV-C disinfection used throughout hospitals

In addition to being the final stage of cleaning in many patient rooms, the UV-C disinfection is used in operating rooms and to clean equipment that is moved from one patient room to another.

To conserve supplies of N95 masks, Norton Healthcare providers have been reusing their masks after an overnight UV-C cleaning, adopting a process approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After discharge, high-risk patient rooms are subject to three, four-minute UV-C treatments — once on each side of the bed and once in the bathroom. The portable machines used by Norton Healthcare have been proven to kill the coronavirus after as little as two minutes UV-C exposure.

Disinfecting fogging

In areas where the UV-C light can’t be used because of risks to eyes and skin, Norton Healthcare uses hand-held fog machines.

These foggers spread a light layer of disinfectant in waiting areas, nursing stations, break rooms and other areas.

Cleaning After a Patient Is Discharged

In addition to performing daily cleanings, Norton Healthcare environmental services crews take the following steps to clean a room after a patient is discharged.

  • Block the doorway to restrict access.
  • Use alcohol foam (sanitizer) on hands and put on gloves.
  • Privacy curtain, if used, is removed. Trash and linen are bagged.
  • Gloves are removed, alcohol foam reapplied; new gloves are put on.
  • Dust surfaces at shoulder height and above.
  • Disinfect bed — cleaning top to bottom, removing all tape.
  • Disinfect room — starting at the door, wiping high-touch surfaces and furniture.
  • Disinfect bathroom.
    • Clean bowl, flush, wipe handle and outside areas.
    • Clean hand rails, bars, light switch and trash can.
    • Clean sink.
    • Clean shower.
  • Remove gloves and use alcohol foam.
    • In isolation rooms: Remove gloves. Remove gown, then mask. Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Gather clean linen, drape over forearm, hold away from body. Make bed per standards.
  • Restock supplies.
  • Dry mop.
  • Wet mop, ending at the door.
  • Clean hands and put on new gloves.
  • Disinfect cleaning equipment.
  • Remove gloves, wash with soap and water.
  • High-risk rooms are also subject to disinfection with UV-C equipment — once on each side of the bed, once in the bathroom.

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